How to Change the World: Reflections on Marx and Marxism

How to Change the World: Reflections on Marx and Marxism

Language: English

Pages: 480

ISBN: 030018820X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Eric Hobsbawm provides a fascinating and insightful overview of Marxism. He investigates its influences and analyses the spectacular reversal of Marxism's fortunes over the past thirty years.

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within the bounds of “order”’, i.e. to prevent the class conflict from consuming both the classes and 52 Marx, Engels and Politics society ‘in sterile struggle’.6 Though plainly ‘as a rule’ the state represents the interests of the most powerful and economically dominant class which by its control acqired new means of holding down the oppressed, it should be noted that Engels accepts both the general social function of the state, at least negatively, as a mechanism to prevent social

what they would have to think out for themselves, but its extreme originality. What Marx and Engels rejected, persistently, militantly and polemically, was the traditional approach of the revolutionary left of their day, including all earlier socialists,101 an approach which has still not lost its 85 How to Change the World temptations. They rejected the simple dichotomies of those who set out to replace the bad society by the good, unreason by reason, black by white. They rejected the a priori

end of 1848, and an English one in 1850, significant in the bibliographical history of the Manifesto only because the translator seems to have consulted Marx, or (since she lived in Lancashire) more probably Engels. Both versions sank without trace. By the middle 1860s virtually nothing that Marx had written in the past was any longer in print. Marx’s prominence in the International Working Men’s Association (the so-called ‘First International’, 1864–72) and the emergence, in Germany, of two

death. In, say, 1875, the known and available corpus of Marx’s and Engels’ work was therefore exiguous, since much of the early writing had long gone out of print. It consisted essentially of the Communist Manifesto, which began to be better known from the early 1870s on; Capital, which was translated into Russian and French; and Civil War in France, which gave Marx a good deal of publicity. Nevertheless, between 1867 and 1875 we 178 The Fortunes of Marx’s and Engels’ Writings can say that a

volume is also a text finalised by Engels and not by Marx, for the standard version (the German fourth edition of 1890) was modified by Engels in the light of the last (second) edition revised by Marx, the further changes made by Marx for the French edition of 1872–5, some manuscript notes, and minor technical considerations. (Indeed, Marx’s own second edition of 1872 included substantial rewriting of sections of the first edition of 1867.) This, then, was the main corpus of the classic texts on

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